It’s been revealed that the taxi bill for transporting permanently excluded school pupils to alternative education facilities in the Lancashire area will exceed £1m this year.
The Lancashire Post has reported that 289 pupils who have been excluded from secondary school have to be booked a taxi to get them to and from pupil referral units in the region.
The cost of the journeys, which are funded by Lancashire County Council have increased by nearly £300,000 in the last 12 months.
As a result of what was seen as an excessive cost, the council approved a budget proposal to offer bus passes to pupils, and stop supplying taxis as a first choice for pupils,
Liberal Democrat committee member, John Potter, enquired how County Hall could be sure that it was not being overcharged by taxi operators as such a massive amount of money was being spent on taxis.
Oliver Starkey the authority’s head of integrated transport, responded by saying that taxi usage was arranged in the most efficient way possible.
The use of Bus passes will be made only where the change is reasonable in relation to the nature of the journey.
Labour committee member, Lorraine Beavers, stated that she would welcoma a less extreme approach, explaining that putting vulnerable young people in a taxi may be the only way of getting them to where they need to be.
Should the budget proposal go ahead, the council would save around £400,000.